Battling Stranger Anxiety

31 Jan

     Stranger anxiety amongst children can be frustrating for both parents and Nannies alike.  In these cases the child is typically comfortable with Mommy, Daddy, and caregiver ONLY.  I’ve experienced this issue first-hand and would like to share some tips and tricks on how to help a child in overcoming their stranger-anxiety hurdle.

First off, please understand that other people do not know your child the way you do.  Whether you are his or her parent or Nanny, you are the ones that spend the most time with the child.  Notice that the image I used for this blog post is that of a t-shirt from Zazzle.com.  I think many Nannies (including myself) get frustrated with strangers.  We’ve seen it a million times before; they make silly faces, baby talk, and unnecessarily ask for high fives.  I get it, who doesn’t love a cute baby?  But what strangers don’t get is that not every child is going to be comfortable with being approached.  Unfortunately, when they realize it there is a child wailing while they are frantically apologizing and walking away.  Ah, if only every child with this issue can have a t-shirt like the one shown above.

The severity of the problem depends on the age factor.  Babies can have anxiety when surrounded by unfamiliar people.  My own personal opinion is that you should be exposing your child to new people as often as possible.  Enlisting in various activities can make this possible.  Examples: story time, the park, play school, time with different babysitters, and play-dates.  Also, creating a photo album of friends and family they’ve never met before is a great tactic to get a child to understand that strangers exist all around.

Also, please remember that a sure-fire way to overcome stranger anxiety is time.  Don’t forget that even though your child may be growing, a language barrier still exists.  When he or she is able to talk more, they will be able to understand–thus having the ability to communicate their feelings with you.  So, with a little exposure, time, and patience, your child will be less anxious, and a little more accepting to those who are unfamiliar to them.

If you are calm, they will calm down.

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